Why don't we feel our own tickling?

Why don't we feel our own tickling?

I invite you to carry out an experiment.

Take off your shoes and ask someone to make you tickle on the soles of the feet. You can simply use your fingers or, if you prefer, a pen. Then repeat the same process, but do it yourself. Have you felt the same?

Most of you will have had to contain your laughter in the first case or, at least, you will have felt how your hair stands on end. However, doing it you probably have not felt anything out of the ordinary. If, on the contrary, you know that you have experienced similar sensations, you may have typical features of schizophreniaBut don’t worry, that doesn’t mean you have the disease.

Why don’t we feel our own tickling as if someone else did?

As I was saying, most of us feel nothing when we tickle ourselves. It is a real nuisance, because it must be recognized that deep down it is very tasty and we do not always have someone on hand to make them for us. But why is it?

Well actually, although you do not believe it, this characteristic is a true evolutionary advantage; since, if we perceive our own touch in the same way as that of others, we will be continuously in alert, scaring us every time we carelessly lay our hand on some part of our body.

This is because any type of own stimulus is processed by our brain with lower intensity than outsiders, encouraging us to be able to discern our actions from those of others.

How does tickling work in schizophrenic patients?

The same does not happen in patients schizophrenics, especially those affected by paranoid schizophrenia. As you know, these people often tend to confuse their own thoughts with voices external and there comes a point when they are unable to discern their own personality.

This led a group of researchers to see if the consciousness of the own touch. So they conducted a study, the results of which have recently been published in the journal Consciousness and Cognition, in which they had the participation of healthy patients.

To begin, it was verified with a series of surveys which of them had schizotypal characters; that is, personality characteristics similar to the symptoms of schizophrenia, but which do not have to indicate the presence of the disease.

Once this verification was made, they proceeded to carry out the same experiment that I proposed at the beginning of the article; so first it was the researchers who tickled them and then invited them to do it themselves.

As expected, schizotypal volunteers hardly noticed any difference, while the rest only felt the characteristic sensation of tickling when it was the researchers who carried out the stimulus.

Therefore, it has been shown that schizophrenics and healthy people with schizotypal characters have a lower predictive capacity of sensory consequences of their own stimuli.

Anyway, I will repeat it to you; If it happens to you, do not panic, that does not mean that you have this disorder, because there must be many other symptoms. Quite simply, the brain is a very complex organ and does not always decide to function as agreed with evolution. You can be calm.

Image: Batanga

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